Montana IRS Special Agent on Scams Aimed at Senior Citizens
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Every year thousands of senior citizens, including many in Montana, become victims of what are called ‘boiler room’ scams that are responsible for the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
KGVO News spoke with Jeffrey Obie, Supervisory Special Agent for IRS Criminal Investigations in Montana, whose staff has been busy prosecuting those who have defrauded Montana senior citizens through ‘boiler room scams’.
Watch out for 'Boiler Room' Scams
“The boiler room schemes kind of focus on a high-pressure sales type of situation where they're going to cold call you and say ‘listen, hey, we want to help you invest your money’ and then really rush through it,” said Obie. “They really focus on trying to throw someone off balance with their finances and get them to make decisions that aren't going to be in their financial best interest.”
Obie said it’s important for individuals, no matter their age, to make their investment decisions thoughtfully and only after a great deal of research.
No Matter Your Age, Seek Wise Advice Before Investing
“The best way to think about it is you as an individual are going to be the best representative looking out for your financial interests,” he said. “So be proactive, rather than waiting for someone to call you and just offer you something that seems too good to be true because if it seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.”
Obie expanded on the concept using wisdom and trusted advice before investing.
“I think it really comes down to an individual doing your own due diligence, such as if you come upon something in an internet search, don't just take it at face value the first thing that pops up,” he said. “Maybe look at a few different sites or references to make sure that what you're looking at does appear to be legitimate. Don't just take any one person's word for it. That's really the big thing that boiled down all of those various bullet points into the one important takeaway.”
The IRS says they have a 100 Percent Conviction Rate
Obie said the IRS investigators have an unblemished record when it comes to bringing those boiler room operators to justice.
“The IRS CI stands for IRS Criminal Investigations,” he said. “We’re the law enforcement arm of the IRS. There are about 2,500 of us working agents across the country, so there are a very small number of us dealing with a huge geographical area. We have opened criminal investigations and have identified 25 of these boiler room schemes across the country that we have investigated, and so far we have a 100 percent conviction rate.”